From the moment you open up the case and read the light-hearted liner notes written by each member of north east trio NE3 Folk, it is obvious that Show Us Your Reds, their debut album, is going to be great fun. The journey begins with Strathspeys, which starts slow and lilting, but builds into a lively reel which serves as a brilliant introduction to this album.
The scene has been set, and none of the tracks that follow will disappoint. They all follow the same winning formula of lively, engaging and well-performed tunes backed up by some stellar guitar playing from Chris Meredith. Some are led by Catherine Geldard’s fiddle, and some by the accordion of Victoria Laurenson, both of whom are wonderful musicians and equally easy on the ear.
The title track, Show Us Your Reds, is a particular highlight of the album. It shows off the band’s ability to play slow music as well as the typical quicker fair, beginning as it does with a hauntingly beautiful Shetland air on solo fiddle. The other instruments join in slowly, before the track transforms into one of their best reels. This is also the best example on the album of the trio’s flair for irregular time signatures - this one being in 7/8, reminiscent of eastern European folk music. This is one of many features which stop NE3 Folk being “just another folk trio”, and keeps interest flowing throughout the album.
The trio are at their most virtuosic on Snow Blind, their tribute to Alistair Anderson, which requires incredibly quick finger work from both Catherine and Victoria. They carry it off brilliantly, and this is a track which is sure to get the pulse racing and the feet tapping.
They show of their softer side once again on the achingly gorgeous MK’s Lullaby, which was penned by Meredith and features his dextrous picked guitar. This leads into the finale, Monstrosity, which the trio themselves describe as “a tune to make you think”. While it is technically excellent, complex, and interesting, it feels like an odd choice to end the album - perhaps one of the more exciting tunes would have been better.
In conclusion, Show Us Your Reds is an excellent debut from this talented trio, and shows off all of their many talents.Will Wilkins
Self-released in 2014
3. Jig for Life
4. The Other Man
5. Show Us Your Reds
6. Snow Blind
7. MK’s Lullaby